First Milk completes initial construction of AD plant

9 Jul 2015

First Milk, Clearfleau and Renewables Unlimited have announced completion of the initial construction stage of what they say is an innovative anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at the creamery. The partnership will convert the creamery’s whey permeate into bio-methane for use by the factory and the local gas grid network. The new facility will be operational […]

First Milk completes initial construction of AD plant

diagram-sustainability-25236894First Milk, Clearfleau and Renewables Unlimited have announced completion of the initial construction stage of what they say is an innovative anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at the creamery.

The partnership will convert the creamery’s whey permeate into bio-methane for use by the factory and the local gas grid network. The new facility will be operational in early 2016 and will be the largest on-site AD plant in the dairy sector in the UK and Europe.

Key benefits of the renewable energy project are said to be economic benefits, for both the creamery and its farmer owners including a 25% reduction in the site’s annual energy costs and price stability for the site’s power supply – 40 million kWh per annum. Environmental benefits include replacing fossil fuels and removing 7,000 tonnes of carbon annually from the supply chain, together with clean water discharge, removing phosphates and greatly reducing bio-oxygen demand. The community also benefits, as the project helps secure over 100 local jobs that are vital to the local area and hundreds of lorry journeys are eliminated, with all whey permeate being recycled on-site.

“This new facility is an example of how we are continuing to progress our turnaround plan, by saving costs and improving the operational efficiency of every corner of the business,” said Chris Gooderham, First Milk’s Business Development Director. “By utilising the very best technology from Clearfleau, First Milk will reduce the cost of handling the creamery’s production residues, while generating renewable energy for use on site. Therefore the new AD plant is more efficient, produces much lower greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reducing off-site transport of residues and making better use of the whey permeate.”

“Funding has been secured and the budget will be managed by Renewables Unlimited. This will be the first plant on a dairy processing site to feed bio-methane to the grid, which will then be used to run the factory and as well supply local users.”

“This is a major development for the Lake District Biogas partnership (First Milk, Clearfleau and Renewables Unlimited),” said Craig Chapman, CEO of Clearfleau. “The project will generate biogas solely from cheese production residues, using advanced British technology. It is a very positive move by First Milk to future proof their award winning creamery operations by generating a significant proportion of their site’s future energy needs.”